Seoul court orders father to provide for half-Filipino child
A Seoul court ordered a Korean father to pay child support for his estranged half-Filipino child, marking the second time a local court has recognized the paternal obligation for the so-called “Kopino” children.
The Seoul Family Court ruled in favor of a Filipino woman who filed a lawsuit against the father of her child — out of wedlock while visiting the Philippines on a business trip in 2013. The defendant had stopped providing for the two after confessing to his wife about the affair late in the year.
The woman sued him, demanding he pay 40 million won ($35,746) for child support along with 5 million won in alimony, claiming the two were in a common-law marriage. The defendant responded by filing a lawsuit for the child’s custody.
“Considering that the plaintiff is currently raising the child in the Philippines and the fact that the child’s existence caused rift among the defendant’s family, it is appropriate to grant the custody to the plaintiff,” the court said in its ruling.
It, however, turned down the woman’s request to get paid up-front, ordering the defendant instead pay her 300,000 won per month until the child reaches adulthood. It also struck down her request for alimony, pointing out that their relationship cannot be defined as a common-law marriage given that the man already had a spouse.
Kopino, a combination of Korean and Filipino, refers to children born to a Korean father and a Filipino mother who have been abandoned. While authorities provide no official tally on how many Kopinos there are, the figure is estimated to range between 10,000 and 30,000.
The number has been rapidly climbing in recent years, with over a million Korean tourists visiting the Philippines annually.
The ruling represents a shifting trend toward recognizing the paternal duties of many Korean men who fathered Kopino children.
In a landmark ruling last month, a court in Suwon, Gyeonggi Province, ordered a father of two Kopino boys to provide for the children until they become adults.
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